Yesterday, the course unit I led was "Corporate Social Responsibility" (CSR), and I've been pondering how to make the teaching of this unit inspire students while also holding practical value.
Thus, I designed the following teaching process: First, I initiated a debate on "Should corporations bear social responsibility?" to discuss both pros and cons. Then we talked about how CSR is defined, evaluated, and its underlying Western values.
When discussing definition and evaluation, I provided the students with a simple CSR assessment table that quickly allows an understanding of a corporation's social responsibilities in four aspects: products, community relations, investor relations, and employee relations. Next, I brought the conversation back to the case prepared for this course, "Vigeo and Corporate Social Responsibility," to understand the logic and key points behind Vigeo's CSR evaluation methods.
One of the driving forces behind CSR in recent years has been "responsible investment," and what makes the Vigeo case excellent is how it demonstrates the diverse aspects of CSR evaluation, influencing investor intentions and encouraging corporate improvement actions. Of course, I also reminded students of one thing: "The challenges faced when promoting the Western values implied in CSR on a global scale."
In the latter part of the course, I continued to consolidate the discussion, talking about the new CSR arising from digitalization and why the fulfillment of CSR requires better digital infrastructure. Many scholars have published unique academic insights in recent years, which supported the design of this part of the course.
Lastly, we landed on a very practical CSR topic: carbon emissions. It could be said that in the past, energy saving and carbon reduction were corporate social responsibilities that were optional, but now, they are gradually becoming mandated by various national laws; it's not just about doing it, but how well it's done. I didn't try to sell a single value but challenged everyone's viewpoint on "Is global warming man-made?" After all, if you don't buy into "global warming is man-made," then subjects like carbon accounting, carbon footprint, carbon trading, and carbon border tax would all seem like mere commercial hype. I'd rather have students research with skepticism to build their personal opinions on "global warming and human use of fossil fuels" rather than forcibly sell mainstream views, as this is true internalized learning.
If students can accept the inference between "global warming, human use of fossil fuels, and greenhouse gases," then they will understand what "organizational emission boundaries" and identifying "indirect emission sources" are all about. They will also understand why digital infrastructure is necessary in these "carbon-related" processes.
Teaching such a unit course truly exhausts me both mentally and physically. However, I'm also grateful for these unit courses that allow me to present concepts and practices comprehensively.